Square Enix's decision to split Final Fantasy VII Remake into multiple installments may harm the game for one big reason.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Review
The 3DS is on fire right now and has had a turn around much akin to the PS3’s. The rocky launch took its toll but now there is no shortage of developers working on Nintendo’s current handheld device. Square-Enix alone is having a wonderful time with the 3DS. Just recently we’ve seen Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Heroes of Ruin, and soon Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance head to the 3D-enabled handheld. I’ve been playing the music focused game for about a week now and I haven’t been able to put it down. This is the kind of game that appeals to gamers that enjoy two different types of games: Final Fantasy and Guitar Hero. Yet as I type that I also begin to see flashbacks of Elite Beat Agents. Theatrhythm conbines great gameplay with a starling amount of content to play through and unlock. You would be hard-pressed to find a better game, especially one that gives you the bang for your buck like this, on the 3DS right now.
The first thing you should do is setup the Streetpass feature for the game. This allows you to get Proficards that show you info on different players you pass. If you get a new Proficard, you also get a new Dark Note which features two songs that give out rewards.
This game gives you plenty of ways to unlock more content but even when you think you’re getting some leeway into collecting all that there is, something else pops up that surprises you. You can find new heroes, songs, Proficard features, movies, listening tracks, Dark Notes, and more. Each of those has so much to offer to increase the time you play that you’ll soon see your Profile’s time rack up from 1 hour to 20 in no time.
The Series section of the game is almost like a story mode. You head from Final Fantasy I to XIII (or in any order you want) and play a selection of 5 songs from each of them. You have the opening theme, a Field song, Battle song, Event song, and the ending theme. The three in the middle there are what the game uses to as its “main attractions”. You have FMS which are field songs from the various games like Blue Fields from VIII, BMS which feature the fast paced battle themes like The Clash on the Big Bridge from V, and then the EMS which show off the story events or cutscenes.
The EMS stages can feel a little out of place unless you’re familiar with Elite Beat Agents. I remember watching my buddy decimate that game but I never once tried it myself. EMS is very similar to Elite Beat Agents. The stages are on-rails and you have to follow the circle as it moves along the patch and hitting notes. These songs tend to be ending themes, cutscene background songs, or slower themes. They can take out of the fast paced action of the BMS or the FMS. I find myself dreading them and I can’t see buying a DLC EMS song at any point in the future. Like I said, though, fans of Elite Beat Agents will find plenty to like with EMS.
You play those three types of songs through all 13 games in three different difficulties that unlock after you beat each Series. The issue here is that you start out with the very slow Basic difficulty. You get so used to this difficulty that playing through the rest of the Series on Basic can get a bit boring. You can try out the other difficulties but you have to play on the Challenge or Chaos Shrine features. It is easy to get used to the Expert difficulty but getting good on Ultimate cold turkey can be a nasty experience. Even the easiest of songs can become intimidating on Ultimate.
If you get bored with the Basic stuff you can take a break in another feature like Challenge. Challenge allows you to play any son that you’ve beaten at least once in Basic Series but in either Basic or Expert difficulty. If you beat the song with an A or S rank, it unlocks the Ultimate version. In the Chaos Shrine you take Dark Note tracks and play them to unlock more things such as Shards for new heroes and more Rhythmia (the game’s currency arcade points).
As you can see Theatrhythm Final Fantasy gives you plenty of choices in multiple modes that unlock more and more. It is hard to get really bored with this game because you are constantly being rewarded for what you do. You’ll either do such a good job that you get new items or hit 500 more Rhythmia and get something nice. Every time you gain 500 Rhythmia (500, 1000, 1500, etc.) you get something cool.
Multiplayer isn’t ground breaking or a big deal but it can get you and a friend playing constantly to unlock more. You and a buddy (up to 4) get together to form a team and then play Dark Notes. Your HP, damage, and rare items are all shared which makes destroying bosses for even more loot is a bit easier. Since Dark Notes are about Expert level in diffculty, it is easy to get everyone around you with this game in on the fun without feeling overwhelmed.
I have a lot to praise to write for my Theatrhythm Final Fantasy review. I haven’t been able to put it down and whenever I try to play another game, I think about how close I am to unlocking something new and I almost immediately switch back to this musical powerhouse.
Not only do I get a great amount of fun and challenge out of this game, I also feel like I’ve spent my money well with the amount of things to unlock and play with. Thanks to the periodic DLC releases, I have a feeling I’ll be playing Theatrhythm for quite a long time. All I need right now are Legendary Beast from VIII, Birth of a God from VII, and Lake Bresha from XIII and I’ll be a happy gamer.